When a school gets into financial difficulty but wants to maintain appearances, it will fail to fully honor its commitment to meet the “full need” of admitted students. Make it hard enough for poor students to enroll, and you’ll have more space for rich students. Is that happening at Williams? I hope not.

bad financial aid – can’t attend Williams =(

After hearing such good things about financial aid for internationals at Williams, I was really disappointed by the aid package I received today.

My family has an annual income of ~35k, which is considered middle class here in Thailand. But regardless of social standing here, it’s just an impossible deal that Williams is asking for: a 17.5k family contribution in addition to 4k from me (student assets).

This strikes me as the worst news since April 1st; I won’t be able to attend my first choice college because of financial issues. =(

Has any of you received a similar deal? How should I go about appealing to their decision?

sorry if this may sound dumb, but is 120k really a lot (for an American family) in terms of combined assets for my whole family.

as far as i checked, they should meet full need for internationals, so i’m sending in a letter and also having my father write another one to explain why we cannot afford 22k…really. if we do that for four years, my parents’ life savings would be down to some 40k, which is certainly not great security considering that they plan on retiring soon.

1) Don’t people read EphBlog? The worse thing you can do is to have assets in your own name. Spend that $4,000 on a computer, clothes, really anything that you need to buy. Or “give” it to your uncle. Cash in your own name is cash that Williams (or any school) will take. (Morty mentioned some changes in this regard — making it less detrimental for a student to have money in his own name — but I am no expert on financial aid.)

2) This student should appeal. I would recommend claiming to have made a mistake by failing to mention that the $120k in family saving is for retirement in the Thailand equivalent of IRA and 401-k savings accounts. (I think that the College does not count retirement savings in its calculation of EFC — expected family contribution.)

3) I am unaware of any evidence that the College is being less generous with financial aid this year than last year, despite some chatter on College Confidential. But who knows? The Record ought to investigate.

4) What is the mechanism by which the College deals with financial aid requests from abroad? How much can it possibly understand about tax forms and financial statement in dozens of other countries, written in so many languages?

5) How is the whole system made honest? If this student had “forgotten” to note that $120k, would Williams ever have known? What about for a US student?

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